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Sonic Boom Season 1, Volume 2 * Nearly Five Hours of Laugh-Out-Loud, Animated Fun

Monday, March 9th, 2020

It’s a Sonic you haven’t seen before an ensemble comedy that pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline! Wherever he goes and whatever he s up against, Sonic the Hedgehog is aided by his sidekick, Tails, and his friends Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and, of course, attacked by his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like this DVD because it is very entertaining.  Each story line is funny; it has a lot of action and delivers a lot of adrenaline. The graphics are amazing and the colors are very bright.  The voice-overs are funny and they fit each character.  The music is okay. I especially like the theme song, which is very catchy. Will C. adds, “Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2 is nearly five hours of laugh-out-loud, animated fun, featuring your favorite hedgehog. The physical humor and amusing adventures will keep kids entertained for hours on end. The message of this series is that friends are stronger together.” Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer wraps it up with, “I am quite aware of Sonic the Hedgehog as a video game character, but have never watched any of his shows. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched this action-packed Season One, Volume 2 DVD. There is a lot of action as Sonic and his friends outwit Sonic’s arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman.” See their full reviews below.

Sonic Boom Season 1, Volume 2 
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I like this DVD because it is very entertaining.  Each story line is funny; it has a lot of action and delivers a lot of adrenaline.

The Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 2 DVD, is over four hours of action, fun and entertainment. The package comes with two DVDs, which include 26 episodes.  What is nice is the gift set comes with two toys, Knuckles and Tails.  Sonic (Roger Craig Smith) is a blue hedgehog that has a sidekick, Tails, who helps him in his adventures. Sonic’s friends – Knuckles (Sebastian Desjours), Amy (Cindy Robinson) and Sticks (Nika Futterman) – help him attack his arch nemesis Dr. Eggman (Mike Pollock).  Each episode has a different story line.  The episodes do not follow a sequence, which it means that each episode is always a different adventure and that’s what makes it so entertaining.

The graphics are amazing and the colors are very bright.  The voice-overs are funny and they fit each character.  The music is okay. I especially like the theme song, which is very catchy.  My favorite episode is “Bro Down Showdown,” because it’s extremely funny.  It is about how Amy had to leave for a little bit, so Sonic and Knuckles ask her if they can stay at her house while she is gone.  Amy says yes, but there is one rule – no foolish things in her house.  So the first thing they do is eat nachos and spill on the couch.  Conveniently a commercial comes on saying, “if you win the best bros contest you win a brand new couch.” They immediately enter the contest.  It turns out Dr. Eggman is spying on them.  He arrives and starts bickering with Sonic about a bogus little thing.  A guy working there sees them fighting and pairs them up, even though Knuckles is going to be Sonic’s buddy.  Knuckels finds a new partner and tries to win the couch.  This is my favorite episode because this all happens, just because they spilled a nacho.

The moral to the stories is about “teamwork making the dream work,” because in each episode Sonic is helped by his sidekick and best friend, to either defeat Dr. Eggman or to enjoy their different adventures.

I give Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 2, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, but adults can watch it with their kids and may find it amusing too. This DVD is available now so look for it! 

Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2
By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2 is nearly five hours of laugh-out-loud, animated fun, featuring your favorite hedgehog. The physical humor and amusing adventures will keep kids entertained for hours on end.

The DVDs include 26 action-packed episodes, and if you get the limited edition gift set, you’ll also get two action figures—either Sonic with Dr. Eggman or Knuckles with Tails. In every episode, Sonic and his friends protect their village from the evil Dr. Eggman. Of course, no matter how crazy the situation, Sonic and friends are able to save the day in the end.

There are some really funny storylines, like when Sonic and Knuckles spill nacho cheese on Amy‘s couch while house-sitting. They try cleaning it up with grape soda, which just makes it worse! Their next idea is to try to win a new couch by going on a game show, but they fail and one of Dr. Eggman’s missiles ends up exploding the couch anyway. In another episode, it’s hilarious when Sonic grabs the last chili dog that Dr. Eggman wanted, so to be nice Sonic goes all the way to the warehouse to bring his nemesis a chili dog. But Dr. Eggman wanted extra relish, so he throws a tantrum by trying to destroy the whole town by shooting it with lasers and attacking it with robots. Of course this is nothing Sonic and friends can’t handle. One of the best jokes is when the boys compete against the girls in a survivor challenge. The girls decide the losers will have to do everyone’s laundry, but Sonic says, “That’s not fair for us boys – we don’t even wear pants!”

The message of this series is that friends are stronger together. There’s probably not a lot of content that parents will object to, but there is some cartoon violence that kids might be tempted to copy. The only thing that’s a problem for me is that there is one episode out of the 26 that’s only available with Spanish audio, no English at all. Unfortunately I can’t understand what they’re saying in the episode, “Fire in a Crowded Workshop.”

I give this series 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 12, and adults might enjoy watching with their kids as well. Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2 isavailable on DVD February 2020.

Sonic Boom Season 1, Volume 2 
By Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

I am quite aware of Sonic the Hedgehog as a video game character, but have never watched any of his shows. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched this action-packed Season One, Volume 2 DVD. There is a lot of action as Sonic and his friends outwit Sonic’s arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman. I like that there isn’t just the typical “good wins over evil.” It is expected that good will win, but it is fun to watch too.  Some of the humor is a bit dry if you are an adult watching the show. But, it is appropriate for children ages 5 through 12. I like that it shows teamwork and friendship, and all of the action makes it very entertaining to watch. The characters are very likable; my favorites are Sonic and Amy. I like that the characters are unique and each brings something to the show. Of course, Dr. Eggman is not a favorite of mine, but he also makes the series entertaining, especially since Sonic and his pals usually outwit him. I give this 4 out of 5 stars for its entertainment value. This DVD would make a great gift for a Sonic fan, since it is a Limited Edition Gift Set that includes Knuckles and Tails figurines. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer

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Llama Llama Family Fun Collection * Cute, Fun, Family-Friendly DVD Based On The Award-Winning Book And TV Series.

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Llama Llama springs to life in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their friendly hometown and make childhood memories. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Cadence G. comments, “I like the Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD because every episode has a different main idea with an interesting story to tell. The animated characters each have their own thoughts about things and how to approach a situation.” Ruby A., follows with, “Llama Llama Family Fun Collection is a cute, fun, and family-friendly DVD that is based on an award-winning book and TV series. The storyline and adorable personalities of the characters combine to make the viewing experience enjoyable. The characters’ companionship is very sweet, and they care a lot about one another. They always have each other’s back.” Christine R. wraps it with, “Upbeat, positive messages about friendship and family make these great for family viewing.” See their full reviews below.

Llama Llama Family Fun Collection
By Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

I like the Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD because every episode has a different main idea with an interesting story to tell. The animated characters each have their own thoughts about things and how to approach a situation. The only part I didn’t really like is that the characters sometimes talk too slow and you want to make them talk faster, but it probably makes it easier for little kids to understand. 

The Llama Llama Family Collection has 15 episodes and is based on the book series written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney. The animated collection is about a llama and his friends who have awesome adventures together. Each episode has a moral to the story. For example, in one of the episodes, Luna (a giraffe, voiced by Vania Gill) is very scared to go on stage to perform a solo in front of an audience. Then Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu get a dance machine and it really helps Luna lose her fear of performing in front of an audience.  Another story tells about Llama Llama, Euclid and Gilroy Goat having a sleepover, where they experience new and different things while at a friend’s house. I know when I go to a sleepover, I find myself trying a new food or doing any activity that I wouldn’t necessarily have done at my house.

I didn’t recognize the voices of any of the characters, although after looking at who does the voices, I recognize Jennifer Garner, who voices Mama Llama. I like Luna’s personality, but my favorite character is Euclid (Brendon Sunderland). He’s smart, but in a funny way. I like when the group of friends take swimming lessons with Mama Llama in Eleanor Elephant’s (Kathleen Barr) pool. Even though Llama Llama (Shayle Simons) isn’t a great swimmer, his friends are supportive. And it is cute seeing Llama Llama’s grandpa (David Hoole) learn to swim, too.

The message of the film is to be nice to others. It’s important to help your friends, rather than make fun of them or bring them down. When I see someone making fun of someone, I try to stand up for them. It is nice to watch a film where a group of friends support one another.

I rate this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 9. This DVD is available now, so go look for it!

Llama Llama Family Fun Collection
By Ruby A. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Llama Llama Family Fun Collection is a cute, fun, and family-friendly DVD that is based on an award-winning book and TV series. The storyline and adorable personalities of the characters combine to make the viewing experience enjoyable. The characters’ companionship is very sweet, and they care a lot about one another. They always have each other’s back.

The Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD is collection of episodes about a group of animal companions that go on a lot of adventures, meet new friends and solve problems along the way. In one episode, Llama Llama’s friend, Luna the Giraffe, struggles with bad stage fright. She has a dance recital the next day. Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu have to help her, or she won’t be able to perform without becoming nervous on stage. In another episode, Llama Llama and two of his friends, Gilroy Goat and Euclid Sheep, plan a sleepover together. What they don’t know is that strange things will happen just as they are about to go to sleep. But maybe the friends’ imaginations will wander too far…

Some of the lead characters are Mama Llama (Jennifer Garner) and Llama Llama (Shayle Simons). They are an adorable mother-son duo, and they love each other very much. What really stands out in this collection  is the incredibly detailed and expressive animation. The vibrant colors and homey scenery go hand in hand to create a wholesome, fun show for children and their families to watch. It really is a great choice for teaching good lessons to young minds. 

The message of the DVD Llama Llama Family Fun Collection   is that you should always be willing to help your friends, and that problems can be solved through the effort of a team. It is definitely successful in communicating its message through the close-knit friend group, and how they stick together and help each other face their fears. The message is definitely positive and uplifting, and can teach young children that companionship is an important life skill to have. There really isn’t anything to worry about when children are watching this series. There is no bad language at all, and there isn’t any negative behavior that young children may attempt to imitate. 

I give this series 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 2 to 10.  The Llama Llama Family Fun Collection  DVD is available now

Llama Llama Family Fun Collection
By Christine R., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

The Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD features the animated friends from Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama book series in 15 stories, including holiday stories for Halloween, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. The friends learn to use their unique talents with some creativity to overcome day to day problems by following grown up advice and helping each other.

In “Stage Fright,” Luna Giraffe’s upcoming dance recital is giving her performance jitters, but Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu are there to offer support, calming breaths and remind her to just have fun. Nelly Gnu is jealous of the attention her baby brother receives in the story “Jealous Nelly.” Her new tree-house takes a backseat to babysitting and party planning for the baby. She misses her parents’ and friends’ attention, but soon realizes that being a big sister is the perfect role for her. The friends accept the challenge to do without their electronic gadgets when Grandma Llama and Mama Llama take them on an overnight campout in “Let’s Go Camping.” They use their five senses to appreciate the sights and sounds of nature. Upbeat, positive messages about friendship and family make these great for family viewing. Children ages 4 to  8 should enjoy these fun, engaging episodes. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Christine R., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer.

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Sonic the Hedgehog * Based On A Favorite Game Character, This Hits It Out Of The Park!

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

Sonic tries to navigate the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound best friend — a human named Tom Wachowski. They must soon join forces to prevent the evil Dr. Robotnik from capturing Sonic and using his powers for world domination. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like this movie because is based on one of my favorite game characters… The graphics in the movie are excellent and, with the new sonic design, it looks like Sonic is real.  The new design works better than the Sonic design Paramount Pictures had before redoing this movie.  The special effects are impressive too, such as Sonic’s blue lightning which also looks real.” Zoe C. adds, “I’ve never played Sonic the video game and was never a really big fan of the character but I really like this movie. It is very well done and great for the whole family. I like the animation and I love the acting. The story is very human and has very little to do with video games. It is about friendship and friends that become a family.”  Tiana S. contributes, “I really love this movie! Sonic the Hedgehog’s team nails it creating a movie based on the SEGA video game of the same name. There are amazing special effects from the beginning to the end.  I love how it includes parts from the SEGA game, such as Sonic running in vertical loops and his spin attacks. I felt as if I was watching a live version of the actual game!” Ian C. wraps it up with, “Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog was the first non-educational video game my mom allowed me to play. I was five years old, and making Sonic speed through worlds was awesome! This film lives up to my expectations—it’s funny and just as exciting as my first time playing the game.” See their full reviews below.    

Sonic the Hedgehog
Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 11

I like this movie because is based on one of my favorite game characters. Sonic the Hedgehog is a live-action film—except for Sonic who is a CGI character (Ben Schwartz)—based on the global blockbuster video game franchise from Sega.

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

The story of Sonic the Hedgehog follows Sonic, a small blue hedgehog who has super-speed powers.  When Sonic was younger, his owl guardian gave him a bag of rings to help him escape to different planets in case anyone discovers and kidnaps him because of his powers.  One night, after he comes to Earth, he is playing baseball by himself and he gets upset because he realizes he is very lonely.  Sonic runs in circles as fast as he can because he is upset.  He is so fast that blue energy comes out of his body causing the whole town to black out. 

This power outage causes big problems for Sonic who is pursued by a crazy military man named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) or Dr. Eggman, as Sonic calls him. Fortunately for Sonic, the town’s sheriff (James Marsden) catches him and helps protect him from Dr. Robotnik.

Jim Carrey in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory.


The graphics in the movie are excellent and, with the new Sonic design, it looks like Sonic is real.  The new design works better than the Sonic design Paramount Pictures had before redoing this movie.  The special effects are impressive too, such as Sonic’s blue lightning which also looks real.  Ben Schwartz did and very funny voiceover for the Sonic character.  He is really full of energy.

The moral of this movie is that you are never alone in the world.  There will always be someone for you to be your friend, to talk to and to be by your side when you need it.  When Sonic is feeling alone, Sheriff Tom, or The Doughnut Lord, as Sonic calls him, takes Sonic to protect him and help him get to the Mushroom planet where Sonic needs to go.

Sonic the Hedgehog is filled with a lot of action and fun.  I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.  If I could, I would give this movie 100 out of 100 stars.  I recommend it for ages 5 to 18 plus older adults. Sonic the Hedgehog comes out in theaters on February 14, 2020. 

Sonic The Hedgehog
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I’ve never played Sonic the video game and was never a really big fan of the character but I really like this movie. It is very well done and great for the whole family. I like the animation and I love the acting. The story is very human and has very little to do with video games. It is about friendship and friends that become a family.

Sonic the Hedgehog is about a blue hedgehog that ends up on earth and he’s trying not to be discovered. He lost a ring that helps him transport to places. When humans find Sonic, he has to run away (something he does well because he moves at super sonic speeds). Sonic feels lonely and wants a friend. When he meets Tom, a police officer (James Marsden), they develop a great “bromance,” but they have to face Mr. Robotnik who is obsessed with everything fast and wants to experiment with Sonic. In their journey, both learn they don’t have to run away from their problems.

I love all the characters! Dr. Robotnik is so funny and pleasing to watch. He is played by Jim Carrey, who is one of my new favorite actors. His performance is amazing and he is definitely a fascinating villain. He is graceful, entertaining and full of life. I also love the character Sonic; even though it is an animated character he really looks realistic. I could really see all the details in Sonic and I felt like he was pretty much a stuffed animal, opposed to a virtual digital character. Sonic is played by Ben Schwartz, an amazing voice actor who gives the character a great personality.

Jim Carrey in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

It’s so amazing to see a character that was made about 30 years ago continuing to fill children’s hearts with joy. I think Sonic is 100% absolutely adorable and all the characters are so fun to watch. There are a lot of action scenes and wonderful colors in the film as well. The music adds so much energy; it is catchy and upbeat. Finally, I like all the jokes and they definitely made me laugh. To add to that, I love how Sonic gives everyone their own special nickname. That gives the movie its own special touch and I guess I’ll nick name this film “Blue Speedy Furry with Heart.”

I give Sonic the Hedgehog five out of five stars and recommended it for ages 4 to 13. The message of this film is that friends in our lives bring us the most joy and they are the family we chose. Another message is that humans will always be more important than technology. Dr. Robotnik keeps trying to make technology a greater power than humans, but Sonic and everyone prove that our simple life and connections are what really matter. Sonic the Hedgehog opens February 14, 2020. Look for it!

Sonic the Hedgehog
Tiana Sirmans, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

I really love this movie! Sonic the Hedgehog’s team nails it creating a movie based on the SEGA video game of the same name. There are amazing special effects from the beginning to the end.  I love how it includes parts from the SEGA game, such as Sonic running in vertical loops and his spin attacks. I felt as if I was watching a live version of the actual game!      

Sonic the Hedgehog is about a blue, fast and funny hedgehog named Sonic (Ben Schwartz) who has to escape his home in another world and ends up on Earth. He accidentally causes a power outage and has to hide out in Green Hill, Montana. The government tries to hunt him down and hires Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to capture him. Sonic meets a cop named Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) or Donut Lord, as Sonic calls him, and Tom agrees to help Sonic, find his rings and defeat Dr. Ivo Robotnik, who wants to use Sonic’s power to take over the world.

The lead characters are Sonic, Tom Wachowski and Dr. Ivo Robotnik. It is very clever that the movie takes place in Green Hill, Montana, since the first level of the actual SEGA game is called Green Hill Zone. My favorite character is Sonic because he is funny. I love how he is made to have lives, just like he does in the SEGA game. One of my favorite scenes is when Dr. Ivo Robotnik has a virtual reality screen behind him and it shows a dinosaur running after him. Jim Carrey uses his flexibility to lower his head to make it look like the dinosaur bit it off. The movie is filled with special effects, such as explosions and lightning when Sonic runs. Sonic’s CGI perfectly match his character in the video game. This is something the producer went back to correct before releasing the film. The music ties into what happens for each part of the movie; however, I was a little disappointed that the song Super Sonic used in the trailer is not in the movie.  

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

The main message of Sonic the Hedgehog is that you should consider home wherever people that care the most about you are. There isn’t much to be forewarned about besides Dr. Ivo Robotnik uses some minor foul language.   

I rate Sonic the Hedgehog 5 out of 5 rings and recommend it for kids ages 6 to 18. Adults, especially gamers, will also love this movie. Since it’s based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game by SEGA, it may remind them of their own childhood. It’s a great action-packed, family movie. Catch Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters starting February 14, 2020. Be sure to stay for the credits.

Sonic the Hedgehog
By Ian C., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 11

Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog was the first non-educational video game my mom allowed me to play. I was five years old, and making Sonic speed through worlds was awesome! This film lives up to my expectations—it’s funny and just as exciting as my first time playing the game.        

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

In Sonic the Hedgehog, a talking alien hedgehog, Sonic, uses magic rings to get to Earth. Here he hides from those that would seek to use his powers for bad. Sonic, (Ben Schwartz), is extremely lonely, and one day his emotions get out of control. He accidentally causes a huge power outage that gets the attention of the U.S. government. The government calls in a psychotic inventor named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) who is chasing Sonic to perform experiments on him.  Sonic tries again to use his rings to run to another world, but a startled local sheriff (James Marsden) causes Sonic to lose his rings. The sheriff decides to help Sonic find his rings and escape Dr. Robotnik.

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

The cast of this film makes it 99 minutes of hilarious excitement.  Choosing one favorite part was difficult. I tossed a coin between the super crazy bar fight and Dr. Robotnik’s dance breakout. Jim Carrey dancing to his “Tunes of Anarchy” playlist won the toss. My stomach hurt from laughing.

The message of this film is eventually you have to stop running and face your fears. Otherwise, you can’t get the things you want out of life.

Sonic the Hedgehog has minimal violence and profanity. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adults will enjoy it as well. You can find Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters February 14, 2020.

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Playing With Fire * Great Family Friendly Movie With Message About the Importance of Family

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters come to the rescue of three siblings, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet — babysitting. As their lives, jobs and depot get turned upside down, the three men soon learn that children — much like fires — are wild and unpredictable. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “Playing With Fire is a super-duper good movie. I like it because it shows the difference between only caring for yourself and caring for others. I also love how it shows all the crazy things that kids can get into at a fire station, when left alone.” Eva W. adds, “Playing With Fire is one of the greatest family movies I have ever seen!  It is a family-friendly, feel-good movie with an important message – family is the most important thing to help you keep going.” Ethan P. adds, “I like this movie because it is very entertaining and super funny.  John Cena makes the audience laugh and it is weird to see him with a head full of hair.” Leando R. wraps it up with, “The message of this movie is that family and friends are important. When someone needs some help, they try to help them like a family. The firefighters have to treat the siblings like they are their kids and teach them what to do and not do. All of them have to stay together for a little while and they start to grow on each other.” See their full reviews below.

Playing With Fire
By Tiana Sirmans, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Finley Rose Slater in PLAYING WITH FIRE from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory.

Playing With Fire is a super-duper good movie. I like it because it shows the difference between only caring for yourself and caring for others. I also love how it shows all the crazy things that kids can get into at a fire station, when left alone. Originally, I didn’t understand the title, Playing with Fire, because, even though the firefighters rescue people from fires, they don’t “play with fires” at all in the movie. When I thought about the phrase “playing with fire” and what it means, it made more sense. 

Playing with Fire is about a team of specially trained firefighters, called smokejumpers led by Superintendent Jake “Supe” Carson (John Cena), who saves three kids from a burning log cabin using a helicopter. Since he and his crew are unable to safely deliver the kids to their parents due to stormy weather, they take the kids back to the fire station until their parents return. In addition to taking care of the kids, Jake is also trying to get a promotion. He tries to find time to apply for this promotion while the kids are “playing with fire” or getting into all types of trouble at the fire station.

L-R: Judy Greer, John Cena, John Leguizamo, Finley Rose Slater, and Christian Convery in PLAYING WITH FIRE from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory.

The protagonist is Superintendent Jake “Supe” Carson. The movie takes place at the smokejumpers’ base in Redding, CA. My favorite part is when the young boy Will (Christian Convery) accidentally spills cleaning powder in the room where Jake’s truck is stored and he tries cleaning it up with water from a hose. The room is filled with all these bubbles and he is flying around the room with the water hose. One weird part is when “Supe” first drops from the helicopter to save the kids; he doesn’t have on the typical safety equipment that firefighters wear to help them breathe. He and the kids have an entire conversation in the middle of a burning log cabin and everyone is breathing fine in the smoke-filled room.

The message in the movie is that everyone has a soft side and it’s okay to show it. It’s okay to let your guard down and let people into your world. You never know what you could be missing out on in life if you don’t. Some things adults should look out for are characters accidentally drinking lighter fluid and scenes where John Cena is shown shirtless or in the shower.

Playing with Fire is fired up with plenty of fun and laughs so I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults may not enjoy the film as much, especially since most of the funniest scenes are in the trailer. Playing with Fire releases digitally on January 21 and on DVD/Blu-ray February 4, 2020. Look for it. It’s a fun family movie.

Playing With Fire
By Eva W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Playing With Fire is one of the greatest family movies I have ever seen!  It is a family-friendly, feel-good movie with an important message – family is the most important thing to help you keep going. There is a lot of comedy in this movie that makes the audience laugh out loud.

L-R: Tyler Mane, Christian Convery, Keegan-Michael Key, Brianna Hildebrand, John Leguizamo, Finley Rose Slater (back to camera), and John Cena in PLAYING WITH FIRE from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory.

The story line is both adventurous and exciting.  There is lots of action, but it is not violent. The characters are super funny and the acting is phenomenal! If I had to recommend any film to watch with friends and family, it would be this one. Some parts are sad, but there is also plenty of action and comedy to keep the audience engaged.

Playing With Fire is about four smokejumpers, which is an elite team of fire fighters. Jack and his friends are specially trained to jump into dangerous wildfires, so they can rescue people and fight fires. Their lives are perfect, until they find three kids trapped in a fire and this special group of men is forced to hang onto them until they can find their parents. Until then, they have to fight fires and take care of the kids. What could go wrong?

John Cena and Christian Convery in PLAYING WITH FIRE from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory.

The cast in this film is amazing!  The casting director, Rich Delia, not only picked some big names to be in this film, but also found some talented newcomers. The whole cast portrays their characters really well and they are hilarious too! Superintendent Jack Carson, head of the smokejumpers, is played by John Cena, a well-known actor and WWE wrestler. Keegan-Michel Key, a famous comedian, plays Lieutenant Mark, a friend of the Superintendent and another smokejumper.  Jack’s soft-hearted friend, Rodrigo, is played by John Leguizamo. Brianna Hildebrand plays Brynn, the oldest of the three kids. This film also has a dog named Masher, that is Jack’s fierce firehouse dog. Masher is very well trained and his interaction with the kids is hilarious.  Andy Fickman directs the film.

I give Playing With Fire 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, as well as adults. Playing With Fire is available digitally on January 21 and on DVD/Blu-ray February 4, 2020.

Playing With Fire
Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I like this movie because it is very entertaining and super funny.  Playing With Fire is a 96 minutes filled with shenanigans.  John Cena makes the audience laugh and it is weird to see him with a head full of hair.

This movie is about four smokejumpers played by John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, Tyler Mane and John Leguizamo, who save three kids from a cabin on fire.  The three children are siblings and two of them, Will and Zoe, are under the age of 10. Their older sister Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand, X-Men) is taking care of them.  The smokejumpers bring the kids to their depot until their parents can come to get them.  The kids constantly mess with all the equipment at the fire depot, which distracts the smokejumpers from doing their jobs.

The storyline includes comedy and sometimes sad moments.  The visuals are perfect. The fire scenes look real. The child actors are great at portraying their characters.  My favorite scene is when Will is feeding peanut butter to the smokejumpers’ dog and he accidentally spreads it on the firefighter truck.  Will drops the industrial soap and takes the firefighter hose to clean the mess and the truck makes lots of foam.

John Cena and Keegan-Michael Key in PLAYING WITH FIRE from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory.

The moral of this film is that family fulfills your life, in addition to working hard to accomplish your professional goals.  Jake’s (John Cena) priority is his career.  He works hard to achieve and accomplish his title in the firefighter department and forgets to have fun or remember that there are people around him that love him.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 18 and adults can enjoy it too!  Playing with Fire releases digitally on January 21 and on DVD/Blu-ray February 4, 2020.

Playing with Fire
By Leandro Ramirez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Playing With Fire is a funny and a fantastic Nickelodeon movie. It has so many funny moments and cool stunts. There are some scenes that are very emotional. It is very fun and upbeat. It is an enjoyable movie for the whole family to watch.

The storyline is about fire superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) and his elite team of firefighters, coming to the rescue of three siblings and realizing that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet – babysitting. The three siblings, Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand), Will (Christian Convery) and Zoe (Finley Rose Slater) cause trouble all over the fire depot and are uncontrollable, much like fires. There are lots of hilarious moments that everyone will laugh at, and sad moments where you might cry.

The cast of Playing With Fire, especially John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Brianna Hildebrand, elevates the film and makes it amazing. They all put their own little twist on their character and it is really cool how they perform all of their stunts. The cinematography and special effects are fantastic as well. The director, Andy Fickman, should be commended for outstanding direction as well as the screenwriter, Dan Ewen, who wrote a funny script.

The message of this movie is that family and friends are important. When someone needs some help, they try to help them like a family. The firefighters have to treat the siblings like they are their kids and teach them what to do and not do. All of them have to stay together for a little while and they start to grow on each other.

I recommend this movie for ages 6 to 12, as well as adults. Younger audiences will find it more fun and exciting than teens will. I give this movie 4 out of 5 star rating. Playing With Fire came out in November in theaters and now it is available digitally on January 21 and on DVD/Blu-ray February 4, 2020.

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Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! * Funny and Filled with Positive Lessons

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

In GIGANTOSAURUS, four dinosaur pals team up for big adventures around their community as they help others, solve problems, and learn about the mysterious Gigantosaurus that lives among them. Often it’s Mazu’s curiosity that leads the group’s charge, and her friends Tiny, Bill, and Rocky eagerly join in her explorations. Whether it’s returning a lost egg to its herd or saving an insect species from extinction, these dinosaurs never give up on a challenge. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like this DVD because it is very funny and teaches children different morals.  The moral of Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is about coming together as friends and never give up on any challenge or obstacle that you might find on your path.  These four dinosaur friends defeat every obstacle and challenge without giving up and help their community and other animals in need. Tiana S. adds, “Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is not my favorite DVD, but I can see how younger kids would love it. It’s not really a show that makes you laugh, but there are lots of lessons that can be learned from each episode. I really love how every character has its own unique personality.” Jolleen M. wraps it up with, “I absolutely love this adorable animated series. It is unlike any other animated series I have seen. The dynamics between all the friends is interesting and it is so pleasing seeing how supportive they are of each other.” See their full reviews below.

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All!
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I like this DVD because it is very funny and teaches children different morals.  Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is approximately 90 minutes long and has eight 11 minute episodes including “Giganto’s Laugh,” “Frozen Giganto,” “The Lost Egg,” “The Island,” “The Biggest Hero,” “Treasure!,” “Seeing Stars” and “Dinosia.” 

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! follows four dinosaur friends – Mazu, Tiny, Bill and Rocky – who team up to help animals in need and to solve their community’s situations or problems.  They also learn about the Gigantosaurus that live among them.  Mazu is the leader of the group and her three friends follow her on different adventures.  The graphics are neat and very colorful.  The landscape is very detailed.  The music is pleasant and appealing in each episode.  The voice-overs match each dinosaur’s personality. 

One of my favorite episodes is “Treasure!”  This episode is about the four dinosaur friends playing on a playground.  Tiny says to get cave moss for Giganto before they leave.  When Rocky gets the cave moss, he falls in some sticky water and Tiny pulls him out.  Tiny notices a little shiny gold pebble.  Mazu takes the gold pebble and brings it home.  Eventually, almost all the dinosaurs are chasing each other for the pebble.  The only one who’s not chasing or fighting over the shiny gold pebble is Giganto.  My other favorite episode is “The Biggest Hero,” because it teaches an important lesson.  This episode is about Rocky and Tiny fighting over who is the best hero.  They compete by solving a ton of problems and trying to help everyone in need.  At the end they are both heroes.


The moral of Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is about coming together as friends and never give up on any challenge or obstacle that you might find on your path.  These four dinosaur friends defeat every obstacle and challenge without giving up and help their community and other animals in need.

I give the DVE Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 18, plus. This DVD is available now so look for it!

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All!
By Tiana Sirmans, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9 

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is not my favorite DVD, but I can see how younger kids would love it. It’s not really a show that makes you laugh, but there are lots of lessons that can be learned from each episode. I really love how every character has its own unique personality.

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is an animated show based on the book by the same name by Johnny Duddle. The DVD contains eight episodes about four young dinosaurs that go on many adventures. They all work hard to face their own fears and solve problems together on their journeys. While they are on their quests, their frenemy, Gigantosaurus, who is the largest, fiercest dinosaur of all, makes appearances. Sometimes the friends help him and other times he helps them. The four young dinosaurs learn different things about Gigantosaurus during each adventure. 

The main characters are Tiny (Àine Sunderland), Bill (Nicholas Holmes), Rocky (Dylan Schombing) and Mazu (Nahanni Mitchell), which are all dinosaurs. Even though they are all different species, they still treat each other like brothers and sisters. One of the things I felt lacking is more of the stories are not about Gigantosaurus, which is who the show is named for. I expected Gigantosaurus to be the main character, but he only makes a few appearances in each episode. The other characters talk about him a lot and they learn about him, but the four dinosaur friends are the main characters. My favorite part of each episode is how Tiny, Bill, Rocky and Mazu learn to overcome their fears. You can really see their true friendship whenever any of them needs a little help. They are always there to help each other throughout the day. I also love how they never give up.

The message in the movie is: everyone has a different talent that is useful for different things. You should appreciate others’ differences and believe that their talent has a true purpose. Since this is a kid’s movie, there isn’t much for adults to look out for except parts where kids may imitate bragging and scaring people on purpose.

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! will have younger kids roaring with laughter. I rate it 4 out of 5 stomps and recommend it for ages 3 to 6. You can find it now on DVD.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest Dinosaur of All!
By Jolleen Mejia, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I absolutely love this adorable animated series. It is unlike any other animated series I have seen. The dynamics between all the friends is interesting and it is so pleasing seeing how supportive they are of each other.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is centered around four tiny dinosaur friends and their gigantic dinosaur friend, that have a love-hate relationship with. Each of the tiny dinosaurs has a different personality. One is brave, one gets scared but loves food, one’s silly and one is smart. Together they form the perfect team and are able to solve any problem. Their friend Gigantosaurus doesn’t talk, so Gigantosaurus isn’t close with them. Gigantosaurus’ size is beneficial to them because he is protect their herd, but his size can also cause some problems when he walks around. Therefore, the tiny dinosaurs still fear Gigantosaurus and they become cautious whenever he is near.

The voice actors for this series are all ages, to separate the adult dinosaurs from the innocent tiny ones. Even though there is this contrast between the adult voice actors and the younger voice actors, it is hard to tell the difference between the younger voice actors. Even so, the younger voice actors are quite remarkable. They are lively and portray various emotions well.

The animation is pretty detailed and very colorful. It is wonderful to see that the effort put into animating so many different types of dinosaurs, as well as other animals including birds, a rodent and an interesting walking fish. There is a lot of detail in their facial expressions which portray their emotions quite well.

My favorite part of this DVD is that it is so fun and educational. Hidden inside the plot are actual dinosaur facts that kids can learn, which is amazing.

There can be multiple messages in any episode, all of which are extremely valuable. It is great to see how encouraging the dinosaur friends are towards each other, as well as how all the characters are accepted. For example, Gigantosaurus is a large, scary-looking dinosaur, yet he is so caring, protective, and never means any harm. The tiny dinosaur who is considered to be the brave, adventurous one is encouraged by his friends to let out his soft, caring side. Most importantly, this DVD shows kids to look past the stereotypes and accept others, which I love.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is a wonderful animated DVD collection which kids will absolutely love and learn a lot from. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 8. It comes out on DVD January 13, 2029, so make sure to pick it up!

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